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Businesses prioritise data skills as training demand soars



New research has revealed that data expertise has become the most sought-after digital skill, with demand for courses tripling since 2019.


The study by digital skills trainer, Circus Street, examined 388 global companies and 755,000 professionals over a four-year period from 2019 to 2022. This included renowned clients like Coca-Cola, Nike, GM, Pfizer, and Nestlé.


In 2019, businesses focused on various marketing skills such as performance, social media, mobile and general ecommerce skills in what the report described as "a mix of training that had largely remained unchanged in previous years". With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, customer experience and ecommerce skills soared in popularity as businesses were forced to acquire new expertise in response to lockdowns.


2021 showed a clear shift to digital transformation with 27% of courses taken focusing on these skills, up from 7% in 2020. Digital transformation training then fell to 13% in 2022 as data skills training grew in popularity.


In 2019, just 9% of training was dedicated to data skills, before falling to 7% in 2021. However, by the end of 2022, 4 of the 5 most popular courses taken throughout the year were data-related, accounting for 33% of all training.


Richard Townsend, CEO of QA, the parent company of Circus Street, commented:


"There's no denying that data skills are now the most sought-after expertise by businesses worldwide. In 2019, data skills accounted for a small percentage of training, but now they make up over a third of all courses taken. Interestingly, many training priorities from before the pandemic have not resurfaced. Mobile and social marketing are no longer primary focuses, and skills such as SEO are also declining in popularity. This could indicate that the pandemic has had a lasting impact on business priorities."


With skills rapidly gaining prominence in a highly competitive hiring market, companies that place a high priority on talent acquisition and retention will gain a significant competitive advantage in fueling digital transformation and maximising value from data-driven insights.


Competitive salaries, a strong data-driven culture and development opportunities are essential, but companies must also employ strategic and innovative recruitment solutions in order to secure the best data talent.



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